DESIGN PROJECT

Music service concept and linear prototype
// rapid prototyping, concept pitch

Deliverables: Rapid concept development, task flow, linear digital prototype, interactive digital prototype
Timeframe: Four weeks
Date: Fall 2012

Biomusique: A better music dashboard for the serious music collector

INTRODUCTION
The music we listen to is personal, even autobiographical. As a dedicated music listener and collector, I’m often frustrated by the simplicity and impersonality of music library and collection interfaces, especially now that so much of my music listening is done digitally and streaming online. For this project, I chose to examine how I choose what music I want to listen to, and then, how I interact with it once I’m listening to it. In addition to more personalized search tools, I also envisioned a graphical representation of the music I’ve been listening to, in the form of a timeline. To pitch my idea, I developed a linear prototype that potential users could click through to give them a sense of what the interfaces for several task paths through the application would be.

A Personal Music Discovery and Listening Task Flow
To begin to prototype out a new concept for a music dashboard, I examined my own personal music discovery and listening decision process in detail. I developed this task flow to help guide the process for building a linear prototype that would better support the tasks I already undertake when searching for and listening to music. I included discovery of new music from ambient sounds, and the various decision points in searching for new music or music one already has in one's collection.

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For easier viewing, please check out this PDF of my music listening Task Flow.

BIOMUSIQUE: Linear Digital Prototype
I built this simple click-through version of Biomusique to pitch my initial concept, and give users a sense of how a music listener might accomplish a few tasks using the app. One of the unique concepts behind the Biomusique application is that it collects and graphs data on a user’s music choices and play frequencies, allowing them to view and share a visual representation of their music tastes and interests over time, making their music listening both autobiographical and historical. Within the application, the Biograph is intended to provide a visual record of the top ten artists for whatever month or year a user has chosen to view. If a user wants to create a historical record of their music listening choices, users can build their Biograph for past years and months by entering artists and play frequency counts as they choose.

This prototype also demonstrates several screens through which a user could discover new music, such as through record labels, and a re-envisioned music player interface, with pop-out controls and easy thumb-slider volume controls.

The final component of this project was coding a piece of this linear prototype model in javascript. I haven't included it here mostly becuase while functional, it wasn't particularly interesting. The interactive prototype I built allowed a user to enter an artist name and play count, and a bar graph corresponding to the play count would populate the screen. I'd never programmed in javascript before, so it was an adventure.


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CONCLUSION
The response to my app concept pitch was overwhelmingly positive. A few of my peers mentioned that they needed the app already, and wished it was going to be built for consumer use. I know I'd use it if it existed, too. Hearing "I need this to exist!" from an audience is always music to a designer's ears.